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Cover Art
PRINTED BOOKS
Author Swartz, Clifford E.

Title Back-of-the-envelope physics / Clifford Swartz.

Published Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.

Copies

Location Call No. Status
 UniM ERC  530 SWAR    AVAILABLE
Physical description xvii, 155 pages ; 22 cm
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index.
Contents Chapter 1 Force and Pressure 1 -- Bed of Nails 1 -- Simple Thumbtack 2 -- Horsepower 2 -- Buoyancy in Air 3 -- How Dense Is the Ocean? 4 -- Washbowls and Coriolis Force 5 -- Points of Contact 6 -- Atmospheric Force 7 -- Weighing Your Car 8 -- Well and Water Tower 9 -- Pressure of Sunlight 10 -- Squashed Tennis Ball 11 -- Recoil 13 -- Fatal Impulse 14 -- Relative Gravitational Weakness 16 -- Strong Fields 17 -- Airplane Lift 19 -- Chapter 2 Mechanics and Rotation 22 -- Terminal Velocity 22 -- Unlikely Game of Baseball 24 -- Human Levers 25 -- Angular Momenta 27 -- Twirling Skater 28 -- Rotating Water Pail 30 -- Grandfather Clock 31 -- Arm and Leg Pendulums 32 -- Precession of a Bicycle Wheel 34 -- Car Springs 35 -- Carousels and Rotors 36 -- Banked Road 37 -- Conical Pendulum 39 -- Chapter 3 Sound and Waves 41 -- Speed of Sound 41 -- Tsunamis and Ripples 43 -- Cold Flat Music 46 -- Thunder and Lightning 47 -- Wavelengths of Familiar Sounds 47 -- Scales and Chords 50 -- Sound of Coke 52 -- Sensitive Ear 54 -- [lambda] of Visible Light 55 -- [lambda]v = c; hv = E 56 -- Trains and Doppler Shift 58 -- Chapter 4 Heat 60 -- Human Heaters 60 -- Negative Calorie Diet 60 -- Moral of the Tail 61 -- Ice Skating 64 -- Thermal Expansion 66 -- Power Plant Efficiency 68 -- Chapter 5 Optics 71 -- Microscope Constraints 71 -- Binocular Size and Power 72 -- Seeing under Water 74 -- Candle Power 75 -- Chapter 6 Electricity 77 -- Electrostatic Charge on a Balloon 77 -- Capacitors 78 -- Capacitance of Spheres 80 -- Electric Field in a Wire 81 -- Electron Drift Speed 82 -- Unfamiliar Currents 84 -- High Cost of Battery Electricity 86 -- Magnet Strength 86 -- Matching Earth's B Field 87 -- Hanging Wire 89 -- Energy Storage in L and C 90 -- Jump-Rope Generator 92 -- Q of a Crystal Radio 93 -- E and B from a Lightbulb 95 -- Toaster Power 96 -- Magnetic Resonance Imaging 97 -- Chapter 7 Earth 100 -- Radius of Earth 100 -- Geography and Weight 101 -- g(R) 102 -- Height of Atmosphere 104 -- Depth of Earth's Gravity Field 105 -- Mountain Height 106 -- Earth Orbits 108 -- Escape Energy from Earth 109 -- Precession of the Equinoxes 109 -- Hole through the Earth 112 -- Slowing of the Earth's Rotation 113 -- Mass of Earth's Gravitational Field 116 -- Chapter 8 Astronomy 118 -- Diameter of Sun and Moon 118 -- Minimum Distance to Nearest Star 119 -- Pressure of Sunlight 120 -- How Many Photons to See a Faint Star? 121 -- Fueling the Sun 122 -- Age of the Elements 124 -- 21cm Line 125 -- Prodigal Sun 126 -- Chapter 9 Atoms and Molecules 128 -- All Atoms Are (about) the Same Size 128 -- Density of Air 130 -- Molecular Spacing in a Gas 131 -- Molar Energy 131 -- Latent Heat of Fusion and Vaporization 132 -- Surface Tension 134 -- Binding Force between Atoms 134 -- Atomic Spring Constant 139 -- Chapter 10 Particles and Quanta 141 -- Uncertainties of Photons and Mesons 141 -- Valence Electrons 142 -- Can Electrons Reside in the Nucleus? 144 -- Lucky Millikan 145 -- Nuclear Repulsion 148 -- Cyclotron 150 -- Synchrotron--Loss and Gain 151 -- Quantized Molecular Levels 153 -- Molecular Rotation Energy 155.
Summary Physicists often use "back-of-the-envelope" estimates to check whether or not an idea might be right. This compilation of 101 examples of back-of-the-envelope calculations celebrates a quantitative approach to solving physics problems. Drawing on a lifetime of physics research and nearly three decades as the editor of The Physics Teacher, Clifford Swartz provides simple, approximate solutions to physics problems that span a broad range of topics. Could you lose weight on a diet of ice cubes? How can a fakir lie on a bed of nails without getting hurt? Does draining water in the northern hemisphere really swirl in a different direction than its counterpart below the equator? In each case, only a few lines of arithmetic and some natural constants are needed to approximate a solution. Covering such subjects as astronomy, magnetism, optics, sound, heat, mechanics, waves, and electricity, the book provides a rich source of material for teachers and anyone interested in the physics of everyday life.
Subject Physics -- Miscellanea.
ISBN 0801872626 (acid-free paper)
0801872634 (paperback: acid-free paper)